recentpopularlog in

robertogreco : sudburyschools   33

Agile Learning Centers, Liberated Learners, and Sudbury Schools: What’s the Difference? | Alliance for Self-Directed Education
"An exploration of three popular models for supporting self-directed learners.

Table of Contents
A Brief History
Is it a School?
Core Values
What’s Required?
Conflict Resolution
Who Makes the Decisions, and How?
Classes, Activities, Mentorship, and Asking for Help
Graduation
Conclusion: What’s the Same?"
blakeboles  unschooling  deschooling  schools  alternative  sudburyschools  agilelearningcenters  liberatedlearners  northstar  education  children  2018  democracy  democratic  freeschools  values  conflictresolution  authority  history  decisionmaking  teaching  howwelearn  learning  self-directed  self-directedlearning  agilelearning 
february 2019 by robertogreco
Let’s Be Clear: Sudbury Valley School and “Un-schooling” Have NOTHING in Common | Sudbury Valley School
[See also this response: "SVS/Unschooling Controversy"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22N5WaTXNrc ]

"All in all, the contrasts—perhaps better labeled as “contradictions”—between the principles underlying homeschooling and those of Sudbury Valley lead to an important outcome, that is well worth recognizing: for the most part, any marriage between the two ends up in an unpleasant parting of ways. From a recruitment point of view, it is always best for those involved in the admissions process at SVS to do their best to discourage unschoolers from enrolling, or at least warn them of the possible pitfalls of such a move. From the point of view of unschooling families thinking about finding an “unschooling school” where their children could spend time away from home, while still being basically homeschooled in the way the family would like them to be, it is always best to look somewhere else.

Actually, the most concise summing-up was given by the person who made homeschooling famous: John Holt. Here is what Pat Farenga, a leading advocate for homeschooling/unschooling, reported he learned from his mentor:

I’ve been asked to define unschooling since 1981. The simple answer I learned from John is unschooling is NOT school.

And, as John Holt himself informed us directly when he looked into our school at the time of its founding in 1968, unschooling is most certainly NOT Sudbury Valley School."
unschooling  deschooling  sudburyschools  education  2016  johnholt  self-directed  self-directedlearning  patfarenga  schools  schooling  learning  howwelearn  howweteach  children  parenting  homeschool  sudburyvalleyschool  lcproject  openstudioproject  sfsh  tcsnmy 
january 2019 by robertogreco
SVS/Unschooling Controversy - YouTube
"This is a commentary on the currently controversial article by Daniel Greenberg https://sudburyvalley.org/article/lets-be-clear-sudbury-valley-school-and-un-schooling-have-nothing-common . The article is not summarised during the commentary so it will be necessary to read it before listening. Further discussion is available to join on the forums at www.self-directed.org.

"Differences Between Self-Directed and Progressive Education" can be read here https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/comment/924407 . This commentary is offered by Jeanna L Clements in her private capacity and does not represent any other individual or collective. Please feel free to share. Thank you."
education  schools  schooling  sudburyschools  self-directed  self-directedlearning  progessive  petergray  je'annaclements  howwelearn  howweteach  teaching  learning  unschooling  homeschool  deschooling  montessori  northstar  agillearningcenters  agilelearning  tcsnmy  lcproject  openstudioproject  sfsh  jeannaclements  individualism  collective  collectivism  parenting  danielgreenberg  children  2018  johnholt  patfarenga  sudburyvalleyschool  agilelearningcenters 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Differences Between Self-Directed and Progressive Education | Psychology Today
"Self-Directed Education, not progressive education, is the wave of the future."



"I’ve found that when I speak or write about Self-Directed Education some people mistakenly believe that I’m speaking or writing about progressive education. Progressive education has many of the same goals as Self-Directed Education, and its advocates use much of the same language, but the foundational philosophy is quite different and the methodology is very different. In what follows I’ll review the basic tenets of progressive education, then review those of Self-Directed Education, and, finally, explain why I think the latter, not the former, will become the standard mode of education in the not-too-distant future."



"To the advocate of Self-Directed Education, it is the child’s brilliance, not a teacher’s, that enables excellent education. The job of adults who facilitate Self-Directed Education is less onerous than that of teachers in progressive education. In Self-Directed Education adults do not need to have great knowledge of every subject a student might want to learn, do not have to understand the inner workings of every child’s mind, and do not have to be masters of pedagogy (whatever on earth that might be). Rather, they simply have to be sure that the child is provided with an environment that allows the child’s natural educative instincts to operate effectively. As I have argued elsewhere (here and here), that is an environment in which the child (a) has unlimited time and freedom to play and explore; (b) has access to the most useful tools of the culture; (c) is embedded in a caring community of people who range widely in age and exemplify a wide variety of skills, knowledge, and ideas; and (d) has access to a number of adults who are willing to answer questions (or try to answer them) and provide help when asked. This is the kind of environment that is established at schools or learning centers designed for Self-Directed Education, and it is also the kind of environment that successful unschooling families provide for their children.

Education, in this view, is not a collaboration of student and a teacher; it is entirely the responsibility of the student. While progressive educators continue to see it as their responsibility to ensure that students acquire certain knowledge, skills, and values, and to evaluate students’ progress, facilitators of Self-Directed Education do not see that as their responsibility. While progressive education is on a continuum with traditional education, Self-Directed Education represents a complete break from traditional education.

I wish here to introduce a distinction, which has not been made explicit before (not even in my own writing), between, Self-Directed Education, with capital letters, and self-directed education, without capitals. I propose that Self-Directed Education be used to refer to the education of children, of K-12 school age, whose families have made a deliberate decision that the children will educate themselves by following their own interests, without being subjected to an imposed curriculum, either in or out of school. I propose further that self-directed education, without capitals, be used in a more generic sense to refer to something that every human being is engaged in essentially every waking minute of every day. We are all, constantly, educating ourselves as we pursue our interests, make our living, and strive to solve problems in our daily lives. Most of what any of us know—regardless of how much curriculum-based schooling we have attended—has come from self-directed education."



"Progressive educators often cite Rousseau as an early proponent of their views. Rousseau’s sole work on education was his book Émile, first published in 1760, which is a fictional account of the education of a single boy. If this book has any real-world application at all it would be to the education of a prince. Émile’s teacher is a tutor, whose sole job, sole mission in life, is the education of this one boy, a teacher-student ratio of one to one. The tutor, by Rousseau’s description, is a sort of superhero. He is not only extraordinarily knowledgeable in all subjects, but he understands Émile inside and out, more so than it is ever possible (I would say) for any actual human being to understand another human being. He knows all of the boy’s desires, at any given time, and he knows exactly what stimuli to provide at any time to maximize the educational benefits that will accrue from the boy’s acting on those desires. Thus, the tutor creates an environment in which Émile is always doing just what he wants to do, yet is learning precisely the lessons that the tutor has masterfully laid out for him.

I think if more educators actually read Émile, rather than just referred to it, they would recognize the basic flaw in progressive educational theory. It is way too demanding of teachers to be practical on any sort of mass scale, and it makes unrealistic assumptions about the predictability and visibility of human desires and motives. [For more on my analysis of Émile, see here.] At best, on a mass scale, progressive education can simply help to modulate the harshness of traditional methods and add a bit of self-direction and creativity to students’ lives in school.

In contrast to progressive education, Self-Directed Education is inexpensive and efficient. The Sudbury Valley School, for example, which is approaching its 50th anniversary, operates on a per student budget less than half that of the local public schools (for more on this school, see here and here). A large ratio of adults to students is not needed, because most student learning does not come from interaction with adults. In this age-mixed setting, younger students are continuously learning from older ones, and children of all ages practice essential skills and try out ideas in their play, exploration, conversations, and pursuits of whatever interests they develop. They also, on their own initiative, use books and, in today’s world, Internet resources to acquire the knowledge they are seeking at any given time.

The usual criticism of Self-Directed Education is that it can’t work, or can work only for certain, highly self-motivated people. In fact, progressive educators are often quick to draw a distinction between their view of education and that of Self-Directed Education, because they don’t want their view to be confused with ideas that they consider to be “romantic” or “crazy” and unworkable. For example, I’m pretty sure that Alfie Kohn had Self-Directed Education in mind when he wrote (here again): “In this cartoon version of the tradition, kids are free to do anything they please, the curriculum can consist of whatever is fun (and nothing that isn’t fun). Learning is thought to happen automatically while the teachers just stand by, observing and beaming. I lack the space here to offer examples of this sort of misrepresentation — or a full account of why it’s so profoundly wrong — but trust me: People really do sneer at the idea of progressive education based on an image that has little to do with progressive education.”

Kohn’s “cartoon” characterization of Self-Directed Education is not quite right—because children do, on their own, regularly choose to do things that aren’t fun in an immediate sense and because staff members don’t just stand around observing and beaming; but, yet, it is not too far off the mark. And it does work. Don’t trust me on that; read and think skeptically about the evidence. Follow-up studies of graduates of schools for Self-Directed Education and of grown unschoolers have shown that people, who educated themselves by following their own interests, are doing very well in life. You can read much more about this in previous posts on this blog, in various academic articles (e.g. here, here, and here), and in my book Free to Learn.

Self-Directed Education works because we are biologically designed for it. Throughout essentially all of human history, children educated themselves by exploring, playing, watching and listening to others, and figuring out and pursuing their own goals in life (e.g. here and Gray, 2016). In an extensive review of the anthropological literature on education cross-culturally, David Lancy (2016)) concluded that learning—including the learning that comprises education—is natural to human beings, but teaching and being taught is not. Winston Churchill’s claim, “I always like to learn, but I don’t always like to be taught,” is something that anyone, any time, any place, could have said.

Children’s educative instincts still work beautifully, in our modern society, as long as we provide the conditions that enable them to work. The same instincts that motivated hunter-gatherer children to learn to hunt, gather, and do all that they had to do to become effective adults motivate children in our society to learn to read, calculate with numbers, operate computers, and do all that they have to do to become effective adults (see Gray, 2016). Self-Directed Education is so natural, so much more pleasant and efficient for everyone than is coercive education, that it seems inevitable to me that it will once again become the standard educational route.

Coercive schooling has been a blip in human history, designed to serve temporary ends that arose with industrialization and the need to suppress creativity and free will (see here). Coercive schooling is in the process now of burning itself out, in a kind of final flaring up. Once people re-discover that Self-Directed Education works, and doesn’t cause the stress and harm that coercive schooling does, and we begin to divert some fraction of the billions of dollars currently spent on coercive education to the provision of resources for Self-Directed Education for all children, Self-Directed Education will once again become the standard educational route. Then we’ll be able to … [more]
unschooling  self-directed  self-directedlearning  deschooling  progressive  2017  petergray  cv  tcsnmy  sfsh  openstudioproject  lcproject  freedom  children  parenting  alfiekohn  learning  howwelearn  education  society  democracy  coercion  compulsory  sudburyschools  davidlancy  canon  teaching  unchooling  pedagogy 
november 2018 by robertogreco
What Does This Teacher Make? Me, Frustrated. | Write Learning
"In its various versions, it’s enjoyed more than a million views. I understand its popularity. What I want to explain today is why it frustrates me so very deeply.

I’m talking about Taylor Mali’s poem/performance piece, “What Teachers Make”, a powerful, clever, and moving riff on the disconnect between what teachers are paid and the difference they make. The context is a dinner party at which Mali responds to a fellow guest’s questions, “What’s a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?” and “You’re a teacher, Taylor. Be honest. What do you make?”

Taking “be honest” at face value, Mali proceeds to rip his interlocutor a new one. Here are a few choice nuggets:
I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional Medal of Honor
and an A-­ feel like a slap in the face.

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall
in absolute silence. No, you may not work in groups.
No, you may not ask a question.
Why won’t I let you go to the bathroom?
Because you’re bored.
And you don’t really have to go to the bathroom, do you?

I make parents see their children for who they are
and what they can be.

I make them apologize and mean it.

Teachers make a goddamn difference! Now what about you?


I have to admit, even as I type this, I’m a little flustered. Okay, really flustered. But not simply angry: rather, I’m saddened, and kind of triggered, by this piece. You see, I have a decent idea where this guy is coming from, having taught in conventional schools at the beginning of my career. Twenty years ago, I likely would’ve thought this was the most brilliant, eloquent defense of the profession I’d ever heard.

Because it’s true: teachers willingly place themselves in stressful environments; they paint big targets on their backs. And why? In many cases, it stems from a profound idealism, passion, and desire to serve. Not only are their salaries misaligned with the lip service they’re paid about shaping future generations, teachers are caught in the incessant cross-fire of criticism from students, parents, colleagues, administrators, and the public.

So I’ve been there, and I get it, I really do. Teachers are pursuing a noble cause, and in return they receive a mountain of shit. What upsets me is the effect this has on many of them: defensiveness too often leads to self-righteousness, even narcissism and hubris. Well, congratulations, conventional schooling: you’ve created a culture of saviors and martyrs.

Think I’m being melodramatic? Take another look at Mali’s text and bask in the naked assertion of power, the delight he takes in being forceful. I make…I make…I MAKE. There’s a glowing pride in forcing young people to sit still, to work, to apologize—essentially, getting inside people’s heads and controlling them, directing them toward ends the teacher considers worthy.

Am I the only one who finds this disturbing? I certainly hope not.

“What Teachers Make” reveals an ugly dynamic that our culture has somehow come to regard as normal, even acceptable. Conventional schools put children and adults alike in situations where they are disempowered, their relationships twisted into ego trips and power plays. No amount of “for your own good” and “teachers are heroes” rhetoric can cover the stench of coercion and disrespect emanating from the system. Indeed, what are the drive for accountability and the madness of quantified, standardized “learning” but code language for “we don’t trust you”?

This system takes people and turns them against each other. When I was a new teacher in the early ’90s, the imperative “Don’t smile till Christmas” was already an ancient proverb. From a student’s point of view, ’80s films like The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off are celebrations of sticking it to The Man, those deadly dull and/or obsessively controlling educators who hold arbitrary power over us throughout our childhoods.

While I can’t blame anyone caught in this ugly scenario for lapsing into an adversarial mindset, I do call upon all of us to create something much better. No one ultimately benefits from a system in which people are assumed to be in need saving and expected to become martyrs. Children and adults alike deserve to be treated like people, as individuals with inalienable rights, worthy of trust, respect, and responsibility.

Half a century of Sudbury schooling demonstrates that not only can we trust people’s innate drives to learn, explore, and master, but that the results are even greater than anyone trapped in the dominant, industrial paradigm could dare to dream. Let’s not “make” anyone defend themselves against a system that dehumanizes and turns people against each other, that stigmatizes them as incapable, incorrigible, or incompetent. We know better."
2015  brucesmith  sudburyschools  taylormali  coercion  authoritarianism  control  teaching  teachers  education  schools  howweteach 
june 2017 by robertogreco
Why are Democratic Schools Growing so Fast in France? | Alliance for Self-Directed Education
"There are several things about France which make it the right place for this movement to emerge.

France has one of the most outdated education systems within the Western World, and people are getting seriously fed up with it. Most people may think this about their own country, but believe me, France is far behind all of them. So-called “alternative schools” represent a tiny portion in French education, such that more than 99% of French kids are more or less doing the same standard thing, be it in public or private schools. Despite government efforts to reform the system, it seems like things are rather going backward than forward. At this stage, people are generally fed up with the system, and the media (even mass media) regularly and generously bashes conventional schooling. A general feeling of frustration and resentment over their own past is motivating parents to look for alternatives, and some of them are open to explore seemingly radical ones.

Freedom of education and freedom of enterprise are so sacred that independent schools are highly protected. The French don’t kid about their famous “liberté, égalité” motto. It’s truly there, in the Constitution and the Law. Contrarily to Germany and Spain, for example, homeschooling is allowed. (Sure, academic inspection doesn’t always make it easy for parents, but it’s allowed). Opening a private school requires a simple declaration, and the academic inspection is only supposed to make sure the school is safe and clean, that it allows students to socialize and develop their personalities, that secularism is respected, and that there are sufficient means for them to get some basic education, all of which are easy to show for a democratic school. Up to now, our 17 democratic schools, seven of which are based on the Sudbury concept, were easily able to open and run, and we have encountered no major hurdles with authorities.

It seems like France usually takes more time than other countries to change (women’s voting rights, for example), but when it changes, it’s sudden, and it’s real. Indeed, France has already shown its ability to initiate radical, pioneering change, with the whole country moving as one. This aspect makes us a good candidate to reach a Tipping Point in our education system."
france  democraticschools  democracy  schools  deschooling  unschooling  sfsh  2017  education  homeschool  raminfarhangi  sudburyschools  alternative  tippingpoint  change  schooling  freedom  democratic 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Free From the Start: One Child’s Progressive Path to Educational Freedom | Alliance for Self-Directed Education
"To be honest, I wasn’t thinking about schools, and I wasn’t looking for a book recommendation. But a few months before my son was born, the man that my ex and I chose as our sperm donor/dad suggested a book. Reading it changed everything.

The book was Free at Last: The Sudbury Valley School, by Daniel Greenberg, and it introduced me to self-directed learning. Greenberg’s basic principle is that children are compelled to learn what they need to learn when they need to learn it. Left to themselves, they do an amazing job of determining not only what they like, but what they need, and they instinctively know the best for them to go about learning it. This concept made immediate sense to me, and I was inspired.

Not only did I buy a whole bunch of copies and start handing them out to friends, but even before my son, Timothy, was born, I decided that I would trust his learning instincts. It wasn’t always easy—there were times I wanted to teach him things I thought he “should” know—but I kept at it. When he was five, for example, he said he wanted to learn to read, so, together we went online and looked for reading workbooks. He chose one, I ordered it, and he used it to teach himself to read. It was effortless.

Before long, it was time to find a school, and I searched for a school with a self-directed philosophy. Unfortunately, there were none nearby, so we found a “progressive” school that was child centered with only 10-12 children per class. The children were sweet, Timothy had a lot of fun, and it was a good choice.

Kindergarten went without a hitch, but in first grade, it became evident that Timothy was far ahead of his classmates in both math and reading. This could have been problematic, but his first grade teacher was excellent; she quickly was aware that he needed more advanced assignments. She kept him very engaged.

Second grade was a different story. Timothy became bored academically, and he craved social time with other children. As the year went on, instead of getting closer with his classmates, there seemed to be less and less group time, and Timothy began coming home from school increasingly upset. Together, we realized that he needed a change.

Meanwhile, a self-directed learning school had finally been founded in Manhattan, and almost as soon as the Manhattan Free School opened its doors, we visited. Despite my personal hopes, Timothy wasn’t that interested, and—remembering to try to let him figure out for himself what was best—I didn’t push. But when second grade started to go so badly, he asked to see the school again. After a day’s visit, he knew he wanted to switch. He has been there for almost five years.

After the first year, however, the school almost didn’t make it. The director and staff had been having both interpersonal and philosophical disagreements, and the school itself had cash flow issues that left it unable to pay staff and overhead. Closure seemed imminent.

The same man who recommended the book that would change my life came to the rescue. He volunteered to run the school for free if the parents would let him transform the school based on a concept he called agile learning. The parent body agreed, and the Agile Learning Center concept was born. The man with the idea was Arthur Brock, Timothy’s dad.

Timothy has flourished. People who don’t understand self-directed learning environments often are concerned about students missing out on certain “important” topics, but Timothy understands math concepts, reads and writes. He grasps and retains a myriad of scientific concepts, and he enjoys memorizing historical facts so much that he knows more about some history than I.

Most parents of self-directed kids will tell stories of their childrens’ experiences and accomplishments that sound amazing against the backdrop of traditional education. But it’s really because self-directed students have the time and support to pursue their interests. Often, they grow the most in areas that are not tested for in traditional education.

Since he was very young, Timothy’s passion has been computers; he started coding when he was around 6 or 7, and now—at age 13—he teaches others, he built a computer last year, and he has a small group of tech support “clients”. He currently is most motivated by spending time learning to be social and collaborative. He is trying hard to understand how to make and keep friends. It hasn’t always been easy, but it is super important to him, and he’s starting to figure it out.

Being in an environment that is not forcing an unnecessary academic curriculum, but rather is giving him the freedom to spend his days interacting with both students and adult facilitators has been perfect.

He has found that he loves facilitating conflict resolution for younger children, he likes collaborating on projects, and he enjoys being a sounding board for his friends when they need someone they can trust.

When I was pregnant almost fourteen years ago, I did some crazy things. I ate food combinations that made no sense, I had fits of glee and anger, and I slept in bursts and starts. Of course, I knew that I was bringing into the world someone who would change my life, but I didn’t know that reading a book would change both of our lives.

Being committed to self-directed education (and parenting) has been both nerve-wracking and exhilarating. I’ve had my moments of concern, but when I take a step back and ask myself if my son (now a teenager) is learning, on his own terms, the skills he will need to be a successful and happy man, the answer is 100% yes."
self-directedlearning  self-directed  sfsh  progressive  schools  education  learning  howwelearn  agilelearning  sudburyschools  academics  content  2017  mercercarlin  manhattnfreeschool  freeschools  arthurbrock  unschooling  deschooling  agilelearningcenters 
april 2017 by robertogreco
Can Any School Foster Pure Creativity? | MindShift
"Promoting creativity would require an entirely new conception of public schooling. Teachers would have to be transformed into mentors whose mission would be to support the individual interests of each child and introduce them to new ideas and possibilities, which the student may or may not opt to embrace. Traditional testing would have to be eliminated — tests implicitly teach that failure is bad and that there is only one right answer. Creative learning would be more effectively promoted by having students actively engage in their creative pursuits as opposed to being confined to a classroom.

It’s worth noting that learning environments with these features already exist. For example, democratic schools such as Sudbury Valley and Summerhill provide environments where students are responsible for deciding what and how they learn, who they associate with, and what activities they want to pursue. The staff acts as mentors to support students as opposed to directing their thoughts and behavior. Roughly thirty democratic schools exist in the U.S. and while this may not be appropriate for every child, studies have shown that this climate promotes creative traits.

Given these circumstances, the idea of teaching creativity in an environment that requires assessment, evaluation, and grading seems unlikely, if not impossible. Even where opportunities to show creativity might be devised, students may be inclined to self-censoring: A student who wants a good grade may not feel completely free to produce something that might be offensive.

So what’s the result? Creativity scores decline, and school administrators wonder why their efforts towards boosting creativity have failed. What’s more, the paradox of expecting students to exhibit creativity in an environment that suppresses such displays becomes a breeding ground for neurotic children."
schools  education  learning  creativity  add  adhd  summerhill  sudburyschools  cevinsoling  2014  howweteach  howwelearn  openstudioproject  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  testing  standardizedtesting  currcilulum 
august 2014 by robertogreco
The Open School | The Future is Open
"We are a group of people starting a democratic school in Orange County, California. The school will be committed to learner led education that respects, trusts, and empowers students to pursue their interests, optimize their potential as human beings, and allow their true selves to emerge."
democraticschools  sudburyschools  orangecounty  schools  education  freeschools  unschooling  deschooling  lcproject 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Sudbury Valley School: Is Alternative Education Right for My Kids? | New Republic
"Tuition this year is $8,200 for the first child per family, less for additional children—very low by private-school standards, and less than most public schools spend on each pupil. There is no financial aid, although there is a fund to help enrolled students whose families encounter hardship. The school is open-admission, no tests or grades required. Students may enroll at the school until whatever age they like, at which point they may petition for a high school diploma. To get it, they have to explain, orally or in writing, how they are prepared for adulthood.

In a 2004 study of 119 alumni who had attended the school for at least three years, over 80 percent had gone to college or university. Others became entrepreneurs, chefs, carpenters, artists, etc. The school is filled with books, most students have laptops, there is Wi-Fi. But students can roam outside and play, or tinker on the piano, or draw. Everyone learns to read, eventually, although I met a couple of students who confessed that, while they could write by hand, they did not know cursive. They may do and study whatever they like. They may learn by building robots, or making up role-playing games with elaborate rules, or by serving on the budget committee, or by participating in the school administration, or in countless other ways. The current head of the school—the actual head of school, elected by the community—is an 18-year-old girl.

The Sudbury Valley School is a dangerous place to visit, as I did earlier this month. It upends your views about what school is for, why it has to cost as much as it does, and whether our current model makes any sense at all. But what's most amazing about the school, a claim the founders make which was backed up by my brief observations, my conversations with students, and the written recollections of alumni, is that the school has taken the angst out of education. Students like going there, and they like their teachers. Because they are never made to take a class they don’t like, they don’t rue learning. They don’t hate homework because they don’t have homework. School causes no fights with their parents.

In short, Sudbury Valley students relate to their work the same way that adults who love their jobs—many artists, writers, chefs; the very fortunate doctors and lawyers and teachers—relate to work: They chose it, so they like it. Perhaps that's because students at Sudbury are, in fact, treated as full adults. They have equal votes in making budget decisions, administering the school, making and enforcing discipline. There are currently about 35 Sudbury-model schools, in 15 states and six foreign countries, and one thing they have in common is their stance against age discrimination. They say that all ages are equal, and they mean it. "



"My visit and meetings with students, my subsequent weeks of reflecting on the Sudbury model, my chats with two founders still on staff, and reading several books that the school has published, including an absorbing collection of essays by alumni—all this has not yet made a full convert out of me. But it has reawakened a huge set of questions that I thought I had put comfortably to bed, like tenure, the importance of discipline, and even the permissibility of smoking on campus—which Sudbury Valley allows, although very few students partake. Above all I find myself scrutinizing even the smallest commitment to a canon of knowledge, some basic facts that I still would argue are valuable for citizenship.



"But the Sudbury advocates would also say that even if a given student never picks up on some bit of knowledge that we civilians deem essential, then so what? The tradeoff made at Sudbury is worth it: Every child will have some blind spots—and don’t children in most public schools, and even the best private schools, have blind spots?—but Sudbury children have a radical sense of empowerment and responsibility for their own education."

I find that answer pretty satisfying, in part because I don’t think that public or private education is good at teaching an academic canon of knowledge, anyway. A 2007 poll by the University of Connecticut found that about 20 percent of college students thought that Martin Luther King had something to do with ending slavery. On a personal note, an inspection of my own high school transcript—from a very rigorous, and expensive, high school—forced me to confess that everything that I remember is from classes in subjects I loved: history, English, French, and philosophy. I remember no geometry, trigonometry, or calculus, no chemistry or physics—none—and scant biology. If I had been at a Sudbury school, and spent those lab hours just reading history and novels instead, would I be worse off, or better off?"
sudburyvalleyschool  sudburyschools  education  democraticschools  freeschools  democracy  educations  schools  2014  agediscrimination  ageism  agesegregation  markoppenheimer 
january 2014 by robertogreco
RADical Design for LEARNING -- Survey Seminar and Practical Action Laboratory
"Wtf is going on? Why are people limping out of 20 years of schooling without directed motivation, a solid internal compass, or a commitment to passionately pursuing their interests? Let's examine why in a cozy, edgy, authentic seminar where we balance theory with real-world action (praxis). We'll study the radical learning greats such as Illich, Papert, and Llewelyn, with focused readings and videos followed by discussion. Whenever possible we'll try to have the authors or their direct students available for Q&A&Q. And through hands-on labs and projects we'll design and enact experience-based transformations, like improvised music, consciousness altering strategies, electronics workshops etc. We can't wait to see you realize your wonderful ideas!"
unschooling  deschooling  education  syllabus  jaysilver  ericrosenbaum  mit  learning  mitmedialab  medialab  lifelongkindergarten  amosblanton  lego  seymourpapert  ivanillich  gracellewelyn  bilalghalib  jefflieberman  making  hackerspaces  lcproject  makerspaces  openstudioproject  grading  rubrics  assessment  diy  notbacktoschoolcamp  johnholt  piaget  mitchresnick  leahbuechley  eleanorduckworth  nuvu  nuvustudio  holeinthewall  sugatamitra  sprout  elsistema  theblueschool  computerclubhouse  drishya  bakhtiarmikhak  sudburyschools  sudburyvalleyschool  samcassat  seanstevens  frostburn  quaker  criticalmass  burningman  paulofreire  quakers  sprout&co  jeanpiaget  syllabi 
june 2013 by robertogreco
No Teachers, No Class, No Homework; Would You Send Your Kids Here? - Emily Chertoff - The Atlantic
"Many agree that the generation of Americans now in their teens and 20s had some of the most over-supervised and over-structured childhoods in U.S. history. It will be interesting to see whether these trends will continue, or whether these next-generation parents react to their own disciplined upbringings by becoming more hands-off. If they grow to resent the way they were raised, democratic schools may come to look like a pretty appealing option for their own children."
parenting  supervision  education  learning  sudbury  sudburyschools  sudburyvalleyschool  trends  deschooling  unschooling  2012  summerhill  schools  democratic  democraticschools  democraticeducation 
december 2012 by robertogreco
La Educación Prohibida | Un proyecto audiovisual para transformar la educación…
"La Educación Prohibida es una película documental que se propone cuestionar las lógicas de la escolarización moderna y la forma de entender la educación, visibilizando experiencias educativas diferentes, no convencionales que plantean la necesidad de un nuevo paradigma educativo.

La Educación Prohibida es un proyecto realizado por jóvenes que partieron desde la visión del quienes aprenden y se embarcaron en una investigación que cubre 8 países realizando entrevistas a más de 90 educadores de propuestas educativas alternativas. La película fue financiada colectivamente gracias a cientos de coproductores y tiene licencias libres que permiten y alientan su copia y reproducción.

La Educación Prohibida se propone alimentar y disparar un debate reflexión social acerca de las bases que sostienen la escuela, promoviendo el desarrollo de una educación integral centrada en el amor, el respeto, la libertad y el aprendizaje."

[Direct link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1Y9OqSJKCc ]
tolstoy  democratic  democraticschools  freeschools  escuelaactiva  sudburyschools  sudbury  2012  asneill  summerhill  españa  perú  español  prussia  schooliness  montessori  waldorf  rudolfsteiner  johntaylorgatto  williamkilpatrick  rosaagazzi  agazzisisters  johannheinrichpestalozzi  olvidedecroly  célestinfreinet  olgacossettini  emmipikler  reggioemilia  mariamontessori  ivanillich  paulofreire  schooling  history  schools  parenting  learning  education  progressive  deschooling  unschooling  colombia  ecuador  uruguay  argentina  chile  laeducaciónprohibida  spain 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Quote of the Day :: IDEA ["Compulsory Mis-Education by Paul Goodman…quote…remarkably summarizes IDEA's goals."]
"Thus at present, facing a a confusing state of automated technology, excessive urbanization, & entirely new patterns of work & leisure, the best educational brains ought to be devoting themselves to *various* means of educating & paths of growing up, appropriate to various talents, conditions, & careers. We should be experimenting / different kinds of school, no school at all, the real city as school, farm schools, practical apprenticeships, guided travel, work camps, little theatres & local newspapers, & community service. Many others…Probably more than anything, we need a community, & community spirit, in which many adults who know something, & not only professional teachers, pay attention to the young."

…I recognize…experimentation Goodman is referring to.

Big Picture Learning
Democratic/SudVal/Free schools
Unschooling groups and families
Unschooling Adventures Group
Place-based education
Online Education
Specialized schools"
paulgoodman  education  unschooling  deschooling  variety  alternative  alternativeeducation  zulekairvin  bigpictureschools  onlinelearning  democraticschools  sudburyschools  freeschools  place-basededucation  situatedlearning  cityasclassroom  community  servicelearning  apprenticeships  guidedtravel  farmschools  diversity  learning  lcproject  tcsnmy  experimentation  choice  place-basedlearning  place-based  place-basedpedagogy 
july 2011 by robertogreco
YouTube - Sudbury Valley School - Focus and Intensity
"This video is a glimpse into the life of our school. Enter a world of young people who are exuberant about their lives, and are fully in control of their education. We hope you will enjoy their spirit, their focus, and above all their intensity in pursuing their passions."
sudburyschools  sudburyvalleyschool  education  unschooling  deschooling  learning  democratic  democraticschools  democracy  tcsnmy  schools  lcproject  2011  play  videogames  games 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Running Head: Self-Directed Student Attitudes (JUAL)
[Quote references: http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct01/vol59/num02/The-Benefits-of-Exploratory-Time.aspx ]

"…also less tangible benefits of self-directed learning. Wolk outlines the benefits of exploratory time, which he defines as an hour or more per day in which students pursue projects & topics of their own choosing. Among these benefits he states that exploratory time "nurtures a love for learning, encourages meaningful learning through intrinsic motivation, creates true communities of learners, nurtures creativity, develops self-esteem & celebrates uniqueness"…Wolk recommends teachers turn over at least 20% of school day to students in order to achieve these benefits. He states that trusting students is paramount to the success of such time. "We must trust that students have educational & intellectual interests & curiosities, deeply meaningful questions about the world, & an innate desire to know & understand. We must trust that students want to learn & that they are willing to work hard in that learning. The next step is ours. We must give them time to own their learning"…"
stevenwolk  schools  openstudio  google20%  unstructuredtime  learning  self-directedlearning  tcsnmy  teaching  unschooling  deschooling  sudburyschools  sudbury  progressive  freeschools  democratic  children  intrinsicmotivation  lcproject 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Children Teach Themselves to Read | Psychology Today
"In marked contrast to all this frenzy about teaching reading stands the view of people involved in the "unschooling" movement and the Sudbury "non-school" school movement, who claim that reading need not be taught at all! As long as kids grow up in a literate society, surrounded by people who read, they will learn to read. They may ask some questions along the way and get a few pointers from others who already know how to read, but they will take the initiative in all of this and orchestrate the entire process themselves. This is individualized learning, but it does not require brain imaging or cognitive scientists, and it requires little effort on the part of anyone other than the child who is learning. Each child knows exactly what his or her own learning style is, knows exactly what he or she is ready for, and will learn to read in his or her own unique way, at his or her unique schedule."
education  reading  unschooling  learning  parenting  deschooling  directinstruction  pedagogy  sudbury  sudburyschools  petergray  psychology  research  anecdote  cognitive  children  autodidacts  literacy 
december 2010 by robertogreco
The Race To Somewhere « The Free School Apparent
"My criticism of the film comes from the feeling that it does not go far enough. I had two boys with me and they just acted as if this was not their problem. And it isn’t. Because they are involved in the process of curing this disease. They are students of a Free School. … the only school profiled [The Blue School] as a solution to this monumental problem, can only be afforded by the upper class. The mere fact that I did not see a brown skinned face amongst their student body, signaled to me that this was not for everyone. … There are many grassroots efforts and individuals who are actively working to form an approach to educating that will serve a wider spectrum. The Village Free School in Portland, The Free School in Albany, the many Sudbury Schools. There is John Taylor Gatto, Matt Hearn, Chris Mercogliano, Jerry Mintz from AERO and others whom I would have loved to hear from in this film. There was no word from the home-schooled or unschooled."
racetonowhere  freeschools  unschooling  deschooling  reform  education  schools  change  gamechanging  blueschool  learning  missedopportunities  johntaylorgatto  matthern  democratic  schooling  schooliness  brooklynfreeschool  sudburyschools  villagefreeschool  aero  chrismercogliano  jerrymintz 
december 2010 by robertogreco
Manhattan Free School
"The Manhattan Free School is an independent school for people from ages 5-18. Our school’s fundamental premise is based on the resolution constructed and adopted at the 2005 International Democratic Education Conference, which states:

In any educational setting, young people have the right:

* to decide individually how, when, what, where, and with whom they learn,

* to have an equal share in the decision-making as to how their organizations—in particular their schools—are run, and which rules and sanctions, if any, are necessary. We believe people are born curious and because of this we can trust in their desire to learn and their enormous capacity to make sense of the world on their own terms."
alternative  democratic  education  sudburyschools  summerhill  nyc  unschooling  teaching  schools  freeschools  lcproject  deschooling  manhattan  manhattanfreeschool 
november 2010 by robertogreco
T H E   B R O O K L Y N   F R E E   S C H O O L  -  F A Q
"How does the school ensure students learn the "basics?"

What is meant by "basics?" This question in & of itself represents core principle of BFS. A certain segment of society has sought, & succeeded, in imposing view of what is important for all students in US, & indeed in much of world, to learn in school. We don't presume to know what is best for each individual student to learn now &…in next 5-10 years…

Does the school do any student evaluations?

Yes. We do not use report cards, grades, rankings, or any comparative or competitive evaluations, nor value-based evals. We utilize Prospect Descriptive Processes, method using purely descriptive, non-judgmental observations of all aspects of student's life & work…combined into descriptive review of child wherein we seek to more fully understand & get to know [them] & discuss ways to foster their growth & development…

What about my child's past school history?

We do not take into account any of a child's past ed experience…"

[photos of the Brooklyn Free School: http://www.flickr.com/photos/loika/sets/72157624827835711/ ]
education  schools  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  brooklynfreeschool  us  nyc  brooklyn  learning  evaluation  assessment  admissions  schooling  schooliness  teaching  democratic  alternative  freeschools  sudburyschools  sumerhill 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Sudbury school - Wikipedia
"Sudbury schools are based on the belief that no kind of curriculum is necessary to prepare a young person for adult life. Instead, these schools place emphasis on learning as a natural by-product of all human activity. Learning is self-initiated and self-motivated. They rely on the free exchange of ideas and free conversation and interplay between people, to provide sufficient exposure to any area that may prove relevant and interesting to the individual. Students of all ages mix together; older students learn from younger students as well as vice versa. Students of different ages often mentor each other in social skills. The pervasiveness of play..."

[list here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Sudbury_schools ]
sudburyschools  democratic  education  pedagogy  learning  schools  lcproject  tcsnmy  unschooling  deschooling  self-directedlearning  responsibility 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Kids Learn Math Easily When They Control Their Own Learning | Psychology Today
"The best evidence I know that math is not hard comes from the experiences of people involved in the unschooling movement and the Sudbury "nonschool" school movement. I have written about these movements in previous posts. Unschoolers are homeschooling families that do not provide a curriculum for their kids or evaluate their learning in any formal way. Sudbury schools are those that are modeled after the Sudbury Valley School, where kids of all ages are free all day to interact with whomever they choose and pursue their own interests. Unschoolers and Sudbury schoolers defy our cultural beliefs about what kids must do to succeed in our society. All available evidence shows that the kids in these settings grow up to become happy, productive, ethical members of the larger society, who continue to take charge of their own lives and learning throughout adulthood (for references to research on Sudbury Valley graduates, see my post of Aug. 13, 2008)."
math  mathematics  learning  children  schools  education  unschooling  sudburyschools  noschool  research  homeschool  glvo  tcsnmy  lcproject 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Puget Sound Community School: PSCS spotlighted in Dan Pink's new book | Facebook
"Puget Sound Community School. Like Sudbury and Big Picture, this tiny independent school in Seattle gives its students a radical dose of autonomy, turning the 'one-size-fits-all' approach of conventional schools on its head. Each student has an advisor who acts as her personal coach, helping her come up with her own learning goals. "School" consists of a mixture of class time and self-created independent study projects, along with community service devised by the students. Since youngsters are often away from campus, they gain a clear sense that their learning has a real world purpose. And rather than chase after grades, they receive frequent, informal feedback from advisers, teachers, and peers. For more information, go to www.pscs.org."
danielpink  pugetsoundcommunityschool  pscs  progressive  motivation  intrinsicmotivation  tcsnmy  grades  grading  assessment  evaluation  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  drive  sudburyschools  bigpictureschools  autonomy 
january 2010 by robertogreco
TED Blog: TED's Facebook fans asked Gever Tulley absolutely anything -- and he answered
Just a few clips: "In support of both of those ideas, we are working with a homeschooling (both unschooling, and curriculum-based) group in Santa Rosa, California who are allowing us to experiment with their children (cue cartoon-ominous laugh). ... If we are to change public policy around testing, we will have to show that not-testing works better. Tinkering School is an experiment in one aspect of that, but their are some courageous efforts out there like the Sudbury Valley schools that have been creating an unschooling-like experience in a school-like facility for more than 30 years -- and showing that it works. Almost 90 percent of kids from those schools go on to higher education after graduating -- and that's after never haven taken a test in their lives."
gevertulley  tinkering  homeschool  unschooling  make  making  learning  exploration  safety  fear  interviews  children  trust  risk  tools  camps  time  education  deschooling  diy  tcsnmy  handson  projectbasedlearning  criticalthinking  failure  lcproject  sudburyschools  tinkeringschool  pbl 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Gever Tulley teaches life lessons through tinkering | Video on TED.com
"Gever Tulley uses engaging photos and footage to demonstrate the valuable lessons kids learn at his Tinkering School. When given tools, materials and guidance, these young imaginations run wild and creative problem-solving takes over to build unique boats, bridges and even a rollercoaster!"
gevertulley  tinkering  homeschool  unschooling  make  making  learning  exploration  safety  fear  interviews  children  trust  risk  tools  camps  time  education  deschooling  diy  tcsnmy  handson  projectbasedlearning  criticalthinking  failure  lcproject  sudburyschools  tinkeringschool  pbl 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Education - Change.org: Simple Math [see also: http://www.tuttlesvc.org/2009/06/kipp-and-sudbury-schools-find-common.html]
"It's legendary in the Sudbury literature: the five-month math class. As Sudbury Valley co-founder Daniel Greenberg reports in the above article, it took twenty weeks—a mere twenty contact hours—for a group of twelve kids ages 9 to 12 to cover all six years of elementary-school math.

A miracle? Hardly.

Greenberg's friend Alan White, a longtime elementary school math specialist, wasn't surprised. "Everyone knows," he said, "that the subject matter itself isn't that hard. What's hard...is beating it into the heads of youngsters who hate every step. The only chance we have is to hammer away at the stuff bit by bit every day for years. Even then it does not work...Give me a kid who wants to learn the stuff—well, twenty hours or so makes sense.""
education  math  teaching  instruction  learning  schools  sudburyschools  unschooling  deschooling  tcsnmy  schooliness 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Let The Students Teach
"Russell Ackoff, who I took a class from at Wharton 20+ years ago, says in his book, Turning Learning RIght Side Up, that he has learned more from teaching than anything else. Of course that makes sense. I learn way more blogging, giving talks, and teaching than I do listening to others. When you are required to explain something to others, you have to figure it out yourself first. I love the idea of turning students into teachers and I would do that going all the way down to elementary school. But in high school and college, it ought to be a primary way we educate students. I am going to dig deeper into the unschooling movement and look at other models, like the Montessori schools, to figure out who is doing this well and why. ... But if we are going to fund people who are hacking education, I think its best to figure out what is working and what is not. Then we know what to hack and why."
fredwilson  education  tcsnmy  unschooling  deschooling  change  reform  gamechanging  schools  teaching  learning  connectivism  collaboration  future  training  lcproject  montessori  sudburyschools  hackingeducation 
april 2009 by robertogreco
Education - Change.org: Sudbury Schools: Rethinking Education, for a Change
"Why, in the 21st century, does the prevailing educational model still adhere to the assumptions and values of the Industrial Revolution? Why do we continue to act as though education is something done to and arranged for children in a highly structured, authoritarian environment? Genuine education reform is hamstrung by our unquestioned assumptions, by our national obsession with quantifying learning and the fact that public education remains a taxpayer-funded monopoly. Instead of tinkering with the prevailing model, making minor adjustments to pedagogy, class size, teacher training and scheduling, why not start over and dream big? Why don't we rethink education, for a change?" See also Lisa Amphlett's comment: "So, is it possible for many (most?) people to challenge these assumptions, when their daily life appears to reinforce the principle belief that one's path in life is, to a greater degree, dictated by other people who are higher up the social chain? ..."
education  change  reform  us  sudburyschools  unschooling  democracy  democratic  deschooling  society  policy  control  tcsnmy  authoritarianism  lisaamphlett  brucesmithteaching  learning  creativity  gamechanging 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Educator, heal thyself of faulty premises
"The fact is learning is uniquely idiosyncratic and resists quantification. An abundance of assessments does not imply validity, nor does complexity of assessment confer objectivity. Simply stated, the belief that we can precisely measure learning is a myth." ... "We must consider what we actually know of the nature of learning and respect children as innately and powerfully curious. We need schooling that empowers children to think and act for themselves. "We must humbly admit that we can’t know for certain what each individual should study and for how long, given the ever-increasing pace of social and economic change. And all the while, we must set aside our differences long enough to see the common ground we all share: a deep concern for the future well-being of our children, our culture and our world."
learning  messiness  education  unschooling  change  deschooling  society  myth  assessment  children  schools  lcproject  philosophy  research  johntaylorgatto  homeschool  via:cburell  sudbury  brucesmith  tcsnmy  authority  alternative  leadership  individuality  self-directed  self-directedlearning  testing  well-being  democratic  democracy  pedagogy  cv  sudburyschools 
january 2009 by robertogreco

Copy this bookmark:





to read